MALAYSIA Airlines’ (MAS) operations are unscathed by the recent tsunamis that hit the littoral states around the Indian Ocean.
Senior general manager for sales, distribution and marketing Datuk Rashid Khan said there was no significant impact from the killer waves, especially on its long-haul flights.
“Customers were apprehensive shortly after the incident, and there were cancellations to some destinations in the first few days. However, this was not the case for long-haul flights,” he told a press conference on Travel Fair 2005 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“However, we will keep on reviewing our operations, and make adjustments where necessary, including to the routes,’’ he said.
According to him, MAS recorded a 30% drop in bookings to Phuket in Thailand shortly after the incident. “But the dip is on a declining trend,” he said.
Rashid said he believed the dip was also due to the usual downtrend in travel during this period of the year, which would continue into the Chinese New Year.
He said flights to popular destinations like Medan in Indonesia and Colombo in Sri Lanka were reporting normal bookings.
“And, flights to Pulau Langkawi and Penang are fully booked until Chinese New Year,” he said.
On advisories issued by China and Australia to its citizens against travelling to Malaysia to avoid tsunamis, Rashid said MAS was currently working closely with the Tourism Ministry to counter them.
MAS was optimistic of the aviation industry's performance in view of the rosy outlook for the travel industry this year.
He said the travel industry would continue to be robust this year in line with the robust economy not only in Malaysia but also in many other Asian countries.
“The year 2005 looks bright, and there is no cause for pessimism,” he added.